Pictures taken with the Nokia N900

November 5, 2009

The Nokia N900 camera is really quite good. In fact, even with pre-release firmware, it walks all over the competition!

It’s no surprise. The N900 comes from a long lineage of great 5 megapixel phones from Nokia, such as the N95 and the N82. It features Carl Zeiss optics (with auto-focus and macro), a dual LED flash, and a sliding lens cover – as such, it’s virtually identical to the N97 camera…

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Samsung T929 (Memoir) camera

July 20, 2009

It’s been almost 6 months since I picked up the Samsung T929 (Memoir), the first subsidized 8 megapixel cameraphone in the US, and I’m overdue for a review :)

Over the years, I have tested a plethora of 5 megapixel devices – the i-mobile 902, the Nokia N95/N95-3/N95-4, the Sony Ericsson K850i, the Nokia N82, the Motorola ZN5 (ZINE), the Nokia N96, the Nokia N85, the Nokia N79, and more recently the Nokia N97

There are now several 8 megapixel cameraphones available from Samsung (Pixon, Memoir, INNOV8, Omnia HD), LG (Renoir, Viewty Smart), Sony Ericsson (C905, W995), and Nokia (N86 8MP) – not to mention upcoming 12 megapixel units.

I’m getting a Nokia N86 8MP review unit soon, but so far I’ve only played with the Samsung i8510 (INNOV8), the Samsung i8910 (Omnia HD), and of course the Memoir.

For over 4 months I used it as my primary imaging device, and 1000+ pictures later, I have to say that the Memoir features the best camera I have ever enjoyed on any phone – and by a wide margin!

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The Nokia N97 is here

June 9, 2009

When it rains, it pours… Hot on the heels of yesterday’s Samsung i8910 (Omnia HD), I now also have a Nokia N97 to play with for a few days (thanks [redacted])!

It’s a pre-production/prototype device – no box, manuals, or accessories here. Regardless, it’s been rock solid so far – in fact it’s more stable than the i8910 or the production N96 I reviewed in January.

For those of you who are just joining the party and somehow missed my past coverage of this sexy über phone, here’s the lowdown:

- Symbian S60v5 touch with widgets
- 3.5″ 640×360 TFT resistive touchscreen
- 5 megapixel Zeiss camera with auto-focus, macro, dual LED flash, geo-tagging, and VGA video recording at 30 fps
- 3G (tri-band HSDPA), 2G (quad-band EDGE), WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, USB 2.0, GPS, compass
- 32GB (!) on-board flash storage, micro-SDHC card slot, standard micro-USB connector, standard 3.5 mm audio connector
- Thin, with hardware keyboard

I think Nokia has a winner with the N97 – it’s definitely looking like a worthy flagship :) Bonus pictures after the break.

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Pictures taken with the Nokia N85

March 7, 2009

In 3 months of ownership, I snapped nearly 1000 pictures with my Nokia N85, US version, including some truly great ones! That covers most of the pictures taken during my holiday road trip to New Orleans.

Right about now, you probably expect me to write a glowing review of the N85 camera, but I can’t – it’s pretty nice, but it’s not good enough.

Despite almost identical specs, it falls short of the cream of the 5 megapixel crop: the Nokia N82, the Nokia N95, the Motorola ZN5, the Sony Ericsson K850i, and the i-mobile 902

The culprit? Noise, noise, and more noise – just like its sibling the Nokia N79, the Nokia N96, and the 3 megapixel 5800/E71/E66. Do you see a trend here?

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Unboxing the Nokia N79, US version

March 3, 2009

Oh hai – I can has Nokia N79, US version!

Think of the N79 as the N85‘s candybar twin – it’s packed with tasty goodness, including the same 5 megapixel Zeiss camera, WiFi, and GPS.

However, it’s also slightly “detuned”, with a smaller non-OLED screen (2.4″ instead of 2.6″), US-only 3G (1900/850 MHz), and no USB charging – it’s definitely the sleeper of the current crop of Nseries devices…

Interestingly, the design language is closer to the N97/N86 than to the N85/N96. Check out my unboxing pictures and video.

I used the Samsung T929 (Memoir) to take most of the pictures :)

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Nokia N96 – a worthy flagship?

January 28, 2009

I really want to like the Nokia N96 – I really do! After all, it is Nokia’s flagship device, and based on its groundbreaking predecessors, it was supposed to be something special. And therein lies the rub – as much as the original N95 was revolutionary, the N96 is just evolutionary.

Take the N95 8 GB, add another 8 GB of built-in flash storage for a total of 16 GB, add a micro-SDHC card slot for external storage, add hi-speed USB support, add a DVB-H digital TV tuner, replace the single LED flash with a dual LED flash, upgrade the OS to Symbian S60v3 Feature Pack 2, and make it a bit thinner, using Nokia’s tasty new Nseries design language… That’s the N96.

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Nokia N96 camera

January 24, 2009

The Nokia N96 camera has a lot to live up to. It follows in the footsteps of Nokia’s amazing N95 and fantastic N82 cameras and it bears the expectations of excellence bestowed upon a flagship device!

It has the same impressive features as its predecessors: 5 megapixel sensor, Carl Zeiss lens, auto-focus with macro and VGA video recording. It also incorporates a dual LED flash, which improves upon the N95′s single LED flash, but falls short of the N82′s xenon flash. Like some versions of the N95, the N96 is missing a lens cover.

Overall, the N96 camera takes very nice pictures, but it’s not good enough for a flagship phone. Noise is a problem – perhaps Nokia is using a smaller sensor to make the phone thinner, or perhaps the firmware is lacking, but low-light performance is noticeably worse than the N95 and the N82

Colors and exposure appear well balanced in most cases, but bright spots (like neon) tend to be smeared in low light. The shutter button on the N96 is almost flush with the body, making it more difficult to use.

Ultimately, I can’t recommend the N96 camera when other devices like the N95 8 GB perform better and offer almost the same features at a lower cost – but that’s just my $0.02 :)


Podcast: Talking with Matt #4

January 11, 2009

Here’s my latest audio podcast (37 min) with Matthew Bennett, recorded outside Farley’s! It’s also available as a video podcast on his blog

In this edition, we discussed (amongst other things) the worsening low-light performance of Nokia’s latest crop of devices (N96/N85/N79/5800/E71), vs. Nokia’s former devices (N82/N95) and vs. other camera phones, from the spectacular i-mobile 902 to the pedestrian T-Mobile G1.

Other topics include the impressive Palm Pre, and how Nokia should bite the bullet and support Android on the N97 (in addition to Symbian), or just eat the zombie’s brains buy Palm and support WebOS on the N97 :)

Click here to subscribe to this podcast.


The holy trinity

December 10, 2008

This is it – the cream of the crop! Nokia 5800 XpressMusic, Nokia N85-3, Nokia N96-3

Please don’t hate me :)

PS: No, I have not sold my soul to Nokia (yet) – I just happen to have a whole bunch of Nokia news in a row.


Podcast: Talking with Matt #2

December 7, 2008

It’s time for the audio version of my 2nd podcast (32 min) with Matthew Bennett! The video version is available on his blog…

This week we discussed the fabulous Nokia N97, plus a few other things, while sitting outside Farley’s :)

Click here to subscribe to this podcast.


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